More on Publish America

I got this email today:

Hello Lee,
I am a writer wondering if I should go with Publish America. Take a look at
my website and let me know what you think.

I don’t know why  he wanted me to look at his website, or what difference it would make.  Anyway, here’s how I responded to his query:

Don’t. It’s a scam. If you are that eager to have your book in print, and have
failed to find a home with a real publisher, go to iUniverse. At least they are
honest about who they are and what they do (self-publishing)… their books look
professional (very slick and well bound)…and they pay royalties on a regular
basis (assuming you’ve earned some).

My experiences with iUniverse have been through the Authors Guild’s Back In Print program and the Mystery Writers of America. In both cases, iUniverse offered to reprint previously published, out-of-print  titles free-of-charge to the author.  I used those services to reprint my UNSOLD TELEVISION PILOTS book, which previously had only been available in a very expensive hardcover edition… and MY GUN HAS BULLETS, which never sold to paperback. In both cases, I was very pleased with my experience and I’ve been getting royalties from iUniverse on a regular, quarterly basis.  It’s not big money… but it’s money I wouldn’t have seen otherwise if I hadn’t taken advantage of the program. The Authors Guild still offers the Back In Print program, but I believe the Mystery Writers of America program has ended.

10 thoughts on “More on Publish America”

  1. I’ve never been a fan of iUniverse, but I have to second your comments. Their reprint and MWA programs have worked well for a couple of authors I know. Another writer I know used them after kicking his first novel around for years longer than he’d have liked, and he was able to get some much needed attention as a result. (Two foreign deals, one American deal – small press, and interest from a couple of agents)
    So while I often rail on iU (That’s another rant I’ve already worn out), they’re great if you go in with eyes wide open.

  2. I don’t understand why people call P.A. a scam. I had a book published by them, as did two good friends of mine, and we both found the people at P.A. very congenial to work with, and my friends and I are both pleased with our books. P.A. even sent out a review copy for me, which iUniverse does not do. They did not promise me anything more than iUniverse promises. I knew I would have to promote the book on my own, and it cost me nothing to have a book printed that I am very proud of. I am not a novice author, either. I have had 14 books published, including one by iUniverse, with whom I have no fault to find, either. The rest were publised by traditional publishers and I had to work hard to promote those, too. Also, at least with books published by P.A. and iU, your book doesn’t go out of print within a matter of months, or a year or two, as is often the case with traditional publishers. I truly do not know why everyone is so down on Publish America. They have lived up to their contract with me in every way. They also send out announcements to the author’s personal list by snail mail, and postcards announcing your book via e-maill. What other publsher does that? I got a lot of book sales because of this.

  3. How many? What does your statement say? 8% on the net? That’s not standard. PA is a scam. I’d be interested in who published your 14 books. They sent notices, amateurish ones at best to those on your list of friends. That’s not real PR. They took exclusive rights for seven years; you paid for copyright; they listed your book at a higher than saleable price. They’re only online quite unlike what they advertise. You just haven’t caught on yet Arlene. You will.

  4. Yeah, did the research. You have a book doctor business for vanity press authors, an extreme conflict of interest in discussing what constitutes a scam. The subject matter is textbook PA; insirational spiritual etc. Reviews of you books are amateur and most from other PA authors. Like all vanity press books yours didn’t sell. Same old same old. Sorry.

  5. Have you heard of the 2006 Hollywood Book Festival? I don’t believe this is the same endeavor as the West Hollywood Book Festival which you have attended before.

  6. I have to comment on the POD/self-publishing debate. Coming from the publicity side of things, I cringe everytime I hear we have an inquiry from a Publish America author. I also cringe when I get an iUniverse author but for different a reason. Publish America is returnable which makes my life easier but the bookstores know that it is POD which in their eyes means self-published. I wish PA authors could realize that just because the price tag says $0, it doesn’t mean it’s not vanity. iUniverse I cringe because the book is non-returnable. That’s the kiss of death if you want to hold author events.
    Here’s the biggest problem . . . if you can’t get author events, you aren’t going to get worthwhile mention in the media so only your friends will know your books exist which means no royalties worth mentioning!
    While I am on my soap box, authors, why do you think that a regular Joe wants to spend his hard earned money on something you don’t care about enough to properly edit? Please, hire a PROFESSIONAL editor before submitting a manuscript. It’s respectful to your potential readers.
    OK, off my soap box. I wish all of you authors out there a lot of luck and sucess with finding a real publishing house.

  7. I don’t think PA books are returnable either. If so only in limited numbers. POD is the kiss of death for all of the obvious reasons no matter who uses it and where. I don’t know about the Hollywood Book Festival. West Hollywood yes. The LA Times one is the best.

  8. Real publishers employ professional editors. They have their own marketing teams too and a quick glance at your clientele sums up who needs your services. One can only ponder how dismal the results are, but not for long. Similar to nothing is my contention, except they lose money to you.

  9. Publish America recently made all their titles returnable. It’s a good move for PA but bookstores are catching on. In the end, the authors are the ones who take the losses in royalties. I also hear that some other publishing companies offer an “upgrade” package where your title is made returnable for an extra couple hundred dollars.
    I have a hard time with some of our clientelle because they are self-published/POD (same thing in my mind). They have such big dreams and think their dreams are coming true by being accepted by PA and others. It’s hard to burst their bubbles.
    Honestly though, I wouldn’t work for any other company because I’ve listened to our contractors talking to clients and we don’t sell baloney like other companies. Whether the POD clients hear it or not, they are told they most likely will not make their money back. I think most of the POD authors ignore that part. Unfortunately, there are people in this business who charge $5,000 a month and do nothing for POD authors after getting money. I can’t speak for our other team leads but my authors regularly have more hours spent on their campaign than they pay for. I just wish more was available to them.
    I like to pat myself on the back knowing that some of my POD authors do make their money back but only the ones who have a good book, go through the proper editing routes and are actively engaged in thier book.
    One thing that has surprised me is the number of author published through a “real” publishing house that contact us. They have their own marketing departments but many houses do very little for their author and the author has to bring in outside help to get the recognition they deserve. Of course that isn’t the case for authors like JK Rowling but most first time authors are too much of a risk for the publishing house to put money or time into their campaigns.
    All in all, I think the whole industry is filled with corruption. Companies constantly misrepresent themselves and the consumer is hurt in the end. I appreciate websites like this that try to educate the average Joe and protect people’s dreams. Thank you for that!

  10. “knowing that some of my POD authors do make their money back”
    Really? Care to share these success stories because they are few and far between if existent at all.
    “All in all, I think the whole industry is filled with corruption.”
    I don’t. It’s business. The real corruption lies with the scam artists who prey on hapless wannabes. Sound familiar?


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